Carlton's Josh Bootsma sacked over social media posting
Decision comes after a series of disciplinary issues and information that the young defender had been "putting inappropriate material on social media".PT1M36S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-39gri 620 349 June 3, 2014
Carlton youngster Josh Bootsma has become the first AFL player to be sacked for social media misconduct, after the Blues terminated his contract on Tuesday.
The decision comes after a series of disciplinary issues with the defender and follows discussions with Bootsma’s management and the AFL Players Association.
The Blues on Monday were made aware that Bootsma had been engaging in inappropriate behaviour on social media.
Former Carlton utility Josh Bootsma. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo
It is believed the latest indiscretion involved Bootsma posting explicit images on social media application Snapchat. It is believed there was an exchange of images with a teenage girl. It is understood her mother alerted the club on Monday and Carlton sacked Bootsma that night.
Bootsma's girlfriend is pregnant and due to deliver any day.
Carlton players were informed on Tuesday morning and none raised any objection to Bootsma's contract being terminated. Bootsma was not given the opportunity to address his teammates.
The AFLPA is also understood to be comfortable with the decision, agreeing there had been a clear breach of the player's contract.
Carlton's general manager of football operations, Andrew McKay, said the club had been dealing with issues surrounding Bootsma for about a year.
The club had been offering him counselling and welfare support to address his disciplinary issues, but he had failed to adhere to the standards expected, with this latest issue the "final straw".
“That was the final straw that broke the camel’s back for us to decide to terminate his contract," McKay said.
“[There were] many varied things. Things like getting to training late, missing appointments, all the types of things that lose the trust of the playing group. When you lose the trust of the playing group, all doesn’t go well to hold your spot at the club.
"The club has attempted to offer Josh numerous forms of welfare and support in recent times. However, he has continuously not lived up to the standards expected of a senior-listed AFL player."
McKay would only say the Blues had been alerted to this latest issue by a "member of the public". Bootsma was said to be ''devastated" by the decision. His manager, Jason Dover, of Stride Sports Management, did not return calls.
Bootsma only signed a new two-year deal late last year, having earlier expressed a desire to return home to Perth. But West Coast and Fremantle showed little, if any, interest in him. He is the son of former Fremantle player Brad Bootsma.
Taken with a first-round selection - 22nd overall - in the 2011 national draft, Bootsma debuted in 2012 and had managed 14 matches, but none this year.
It's understood he won't be paid out the final year of his contract.
McKay said the Blues did not have a club problem with social media and the players had been reminded they needed to be "super careful" on social media. He said this incident was a warning to all AFL players.
“Our guys are versed in social media and how we behave on social media. It's a real reminder for all players ... all young men and women across society, that you need to be very, very careful when you are dealing with social media," he said.
"Carlton players and staff receive education on both social media policy and AFL code of conduct on a regular basis."
McKay said the situation was extremely disappointing. “We are dealing with a young man’s livelihood. It’s certainly not a light decision on our behalf.
"This latest issue has left the club with no other choice but to take this course of action.
"The leadership group were not consulted on the decision. The decision was made by management of the football club. You have to understand we acted quite swiftly, we needed to. I think it was above the decision of the leadership group."
McKay said Carlton would continue to provide support for Bootsma for as long as required.
The axing of Bootsma and the retirement of Heath Scotland will open up even more room under the salary cap for the Blues, who are expected to again make major changes to a playing list that is well off being in contention for a premiership.